Lecture by Dr. Philippe Albouy
Driving brain function with non-invasive rhythmic stimulation: a new way of shaping behavior?
Abstract: Substantial efforts in neuroscience have been made to understand how humans process complex stimulus patterns. To perceive and understand such patterns, the brain uses not only specialized centers, but also connections between those regions and other more distant areas. More specifically, brain activity oscillates at certain frequencies within these regions, and these oscillations are considered as signatures of these distributed processes because they correlate with, and predict, behavioural performance. Although a large body of brain-behaviour correlation data is convincing that brain oscillations support various cognitive processes, their causal relationship with behaviour needs to be clarified: Do neuronal oscillations condition behaviour and performance, or is it vice-versa? Our study proposes to understand this causal relationship in the context of auditory processing. Our approach consists of directly modulating brain oscillations during task performance, which should modify behaviour. Neural rhythms can be synchronized to external stimulation using non-invasive techniques such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. We will show that such stimulation applied at certain frequencies over specific nodes of the auditory network during auditory processing can causally influence the activity in the targeted and other connected regions, and shape specific aspects of task performance.